Government releases Native Title Discussion Paper
The Australian Government today released a discussion paper for consultation on possible reforms to the native title agreement process.
The Government is committed to ensuring that benefits from native title agreements flow to current and future native title holders.
This requires a continued, concerted effort to ensure the millions of dollars flowing from resource projects to native title holders and claimants, are used to strengthen sustainable economic and social development, and benefit future generations of native title holders.
The Discussion Paper outlines a number of key options, including:
- Establishing an independent statutory officer or body, which would receive and review native title agreements, and assess certain agreements against leading practice principles;
- Measures to encourage entities that receive native title payments to strengthen their governance and democratic control;
- Developing a leading practice toolkit to provide parties with practical guidance and resources to assist with the design and implementation of native title agreements;
- Simplifying the arrangements governing registration timeframes for Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs); and
- Clarifying the meaning of ‘in good faith negotiations’ to encourage parties to engage in meaningful discussions about future acts under the right to negotiate provisions.
The Government is committed to strengthening the governance and capacity of Indigenous corporations, so that we maximise and protect the sustainability of benefits which flow from native title agreements.
We will continue to work with Indigenous people to make reforms to the native title system which respond to the changing needs and aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The paper builds on the Government’s recent native title governance work. It also complements the recent consultation paper released by the Assistant Treasurer, which canvasses options to reduce complexity and uncertainty in the tax treatment of native title benefits and structures.
The Government will conduct public consultation sessions on the possible reforms.
Details of those sessions and copies of the discussion paper are available at http://fahcsia.gov.au/our-responsibilities/indigenous-australians/programs-services/land-native-title/native-title-discussion-paper
Submissions close at 5pm, 5 August 2010. The deadline for submissions on the Treasury consultation paper will also close on the same date (previously 2 July 2010).